The Victorian government is set to introduce new laws aimed at giving tenants of rental properties more rights. Some of these reforms introduced by the Andrews government will come as welcome news for pet owners and any renter who feels like the odds are stacked against them.

From having your rent increased suddenly to having to pay for repairs out of your own pockets, renters have had to deal with a variety of undesirable situations over the years. While landlords seem to have endless legal protections, many renters feel they simply don’t have the same rights. Well good news renters, all that may be about to change.

Blacklist for Landlords and Agents

Most renters are probably aware of the National Tenancy Database, a record containing information about the renting history of certain tenants, something that is used to blacklist renters who have breached tenancy agreements, paid rent late or caused malicious damage to the property.

Well now there is going to be blacklist for landlords and agents as well, so tenants can identify landlords or agents who have breached their responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act.

Security

Landlords will no longer be allowed to end a tenancy for no specified reason and now must give a reason for the termination. They will also be legally obligated to tell tenants of information about the property, including plans to sell or if asbestos was ever identified. The option of new long term lease arrangements are also under consideration.

Pricing and Payments

Landlords can now only increase rent every 12 months rather than the current 6 month rule. They must also advertise properties with a fixed price and are prevented from accepting a higher price to prevent “rental bidding”. Landlords will no longer be able to charge a bond worth more than one month’s rent when the rent is less than double the median weekly rent (currently $760).

Tenants can apply to have their bond released without their landlord’s agreement and up to 14 days (up from 7) before the end of a tenancy as long as there is no dispute. If they paid for urgent repairs, they will be entitled to reimbursement within 7 days, down from 14.

Modifications

A landlord can automatically include a “no pet’s clause” in rental agreements under current laws without having to justify their decision. The new reforms will prevent landlords from unreasonably refusing requests from tenants to have pets if the renter asks for their written consent.

However, tenants will be entirely responsible for any cleaning or fumigation that is required relating to the pet. This includes property damage that goes beyond reasonable wear and tear.

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